There’s an old saying that “behind every great man is a great woman” and that’s certainly the case with Viv and Chris Thomson. In the 100th year that the Thomson family has been custodian of Best’s wines, we thought it was fitting to pay tribute to our beloved Chris. She’s very much the fabric of our winery and the local Great Western community.
Christine Mary Thomson was born on 7 October 1941, growing up nearby in Horsham on a Dorset Horn Stud. Educated at Horsham Primary and Secondary School, she finished school at Korowa Anglican Girls College in Melbourne. A love of teaching led her to Geelong to complete her teachers certificate and she then moved closer to home and taught at Ararat Primary School and Stawell Special School.
Chris met the charming Viv Thomson in 1961, and they were married on 12th January 1963. Not long after their eldest child Ben was born (1964), followed by Hamish (1966), Yvette (1968) and Marcus (1970). They moved their young family into the Best’s homestead, at the back of the current winery in 1972. It was here they raised their children and have lived ever since.
Always one to get involved in the winery, Chris was often seen helping on the bottling line, picking grapes or driving the tractor for Viv. She also has a creative flair and designed all the early labels, letterheads and packaging – a pioneer of modern day wine marketing! When Viv started travelling overseas in the early 1990s Chris would travel with him, and with quite the palate herself, was equally knowledgeable about the range.
Chris played a fundamental role in championing our beloved region. In the early 1990s she joined the Grampians Winemakers Association, driving an application for Great Western to become a sub-region of the Grampians Geographical Indicator (GI). This was a significant achievement given the historical and geographical significance, allowing the Great Western name to be retained for winemaking use for years to come.
The ultimate host, Chris is well known as an entertainer, with many esteemed wine guests, mates or distributors visiting from near or far enjoying a home-cooked meal and a special bottle of wine. It’s her love of people and bubbly personality that certainly shines through. Which is why in 2020 we’ve launched a limited release sparkling wine "CMT Sparkling" in her honour!
Nowadays, Chris has more time to spend with family but still actively pursues her hobbies. She loves to paint, enjoys her weekly Bridge game with local girlfriends and gets out and about in the bush, at one with nature. Cheers to you Chris Thomson!